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Markets

Tokyo shares open higher

  • The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.32 percent or 89.46 points to 28,407.29, while the broader Topix index was up 0.44 percent or 8.37 points at 1,913.06.
Published May 24, 2021

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks opened higher Monday as investors eyed the expected extension of a virus state of emergency in several Japanese regions, and monitored movements of bitcoin's price.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.32 percent or 89.46 points to 28,407.29, while the broader Topix index was up 0.44 percent or 8.37 points at 1,913.06.

"As we open for the week, eyes will remain on the crypto space with bitcoin down," as China looks to step up its crackdown on bitcoin while Washington considers improving the transparency of transactions, said Tapas Strickland, director of economics and markets at National Australia Bank.

The world's most popular cryptocurrency went through wild gyrations last week, depressing investor sentiment in other markets including global stocks.

Still, Tokyo shares managed to show relative resistance to bitcoin's sharp losses last week, although the market experienced volatility, Okasan Online Securities said in a note.

"We will have to monitor if it will be another week needing patience," the brokerage said.

But the volatile market of last week also showed that the market remains well supported, it added.

"Investors affirmed that strong bargain hunting exists on the Nikkei index when it breaches below 28,000."

"The market is encouraged that this strong support exists, even as the government mulls extending the state of emergency," the brokerage added.

The Japanese government is considering prolonging the state of emergency in key regions, including the capital Tokyo, to drive down coronavirus infections.

The measure, which is currently set to expire at the end of this month, largely requires bars and restraints to close early and refrain from sales of alcohol, while major shopping malls were also asked to close in an effort to avoid drawing crowds.

The efforts have gradually driven down infection numbers in Tokyo and other key areas in recent days, but experts fear the decline it not enough to ease the burden on hospitals as Tokyo prepares to host the summer Olympics in July and August.

Japan's vaccination programme is also moving slowly.

Among major stocks, Toyota surged 2.13 percent to 8,929 yen. Industry robot maker Fanuc rose 2.19 percent to 25,640 yen. Nippon Steel jumped 3.35 percent to 2,160 yen.

But Sony Group gave up earlier gains and fell 0.24 percent to 10,500 yen. SoftBank Group also fell 1.79 percent to 8,353 yen.

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